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Ask the Parent Coach

How Can I Get My Kids to Keep Their Word?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 11.23.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Pushing and pulling kids to do things they have to do can be maddening. It is very important that we raise our children to be true to their word.

Stepdaughter's Mom Is Threatening to Send Her to a Distant School

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 11.17.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

13-year-olds are reluctant to confide in their parents. One of the benefits of being a "bonus parent" is that you can act as a sounding board for your stepdaughter to talk freely about the things she's struggling to sort out.

My Kids Can't Eat Out Without Being Plugged In!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 11.10.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Let your children know that your decision is not negotiable, and that if they don't think they can join you as pleasant dinner companions, they can stay home with grandma or a babysitter (without access to computers or TV).

Can I Teach My Son to Have Boundaries When Mine Are So Flimsy?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 11.04.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

There are many ways to help a child establish better boundaries, but the most important one is built upon what he observes in the behavior of those he watches most carefully -- his parents and primary caregivers.

How to Avoid Meltdowns Without Caving in

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 10.13.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

When you see signs of your child heading toward a tantrum and you realize you aren't going to be able to stay cool, calm and collected, there is a way to "give in" to your child (thereby avoiding the meltdown) without teaching her that whenever she wants something, all she needs to do is yell.

Make the Car Fighting Stop!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 10.05.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

he restrictions that come from being strapped in and stuck in a car are a terrible fit for kids. There are, however, things you can do to make the ride more enjoyable.

'You Can't Be Friends With Anyone But Me!'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.23.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

By helping your daughter honor herself and stand up for what she deserves in a loving friendship, you will be giving her the tools for healthy relationships down the road.

Help! My Daughter Is Anxious

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.17.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

The things your daughter is afraid of are very real to her, regardless of how impossible they may seem to you.

My Son's Dreaminess Slows Everyone Down!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.07.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

In a different time and place, his behavior would be seen as entirely age-appropriate. In today's world, however, his slow pace is a problem because life moves so quickly.

My Son Doesn't Want to Visit Me This Summer

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 09.01.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Your son is sending you a message about his sadness. How you respond will either help him grow into a man who can feel difficult emotions and communicate them in healthy ways, or someone who represses painful feelings and withdraws his love when he has been hurt.

'There's Nothing to Do!'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 08.24.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Children are born with an almost unlimited capacity for having fun. Until recently in human history, kids happily figured out how to enjoy themselves without mountains of toys or electronic devices.

Teen Daughter Wants Dad To Stop Posting Photos!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 08.18.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

It's one thing to be a teen and have your parents share photos of you with family friends by forcing them to look through photo albums of your most recent ballet performance. But it's another thing altogether to have what you consider to be unflattering photos posted online.

My Son Seems So Uncomfortable in His Own Skin

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 08.05.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

I can't count the number of children and teens I've worked with who genuinely believed they were stupid, despite being brilliant at something outside of a school setting.

My Kids Are Struggling Because of Our Divorce

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 07.29.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Adjusting to divorce takes time. Be patient and kind to yourself so you can be there for your kids. If you take things slowly and prioritize your energy so you're focusing on the things that nourish you all, you and your family will get through this rough time.

Helping Children Adjust to a Move

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 07.22.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Most children thrive on the familiar. The experience of beging tossed around by the changes that come with a move can feel overwhelming, even if there are great things about a new house or neighborhood. Here are some thoughts about how to help your children adjust.

My 6-Year-Old Got in Trouble at School and Isn't Sorry!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 07.15.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

When we require our kids to say the obligatory words, "I'm sorry" without actually meaning them, we teach them that words alone can let them off the hook and they don't have to genuinely feel empathy for whoever they have wronged.

My 13-Year-Old and I Are Both in Hormone Hell!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 06.30.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Your daughter's moods will even out, your hormones will stabilize and you will get through this rough patch.

How Can I Get My Daughter to Sleep in Her Bed Instead of Mine?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 06.24.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

There's nothing quite as refreshing as a great night's sleep to help us recover from our day and restore our energy. When children have trouble sleeping, it impacts not only their sleep (and mood), but their weary parents'.

My Kids' Rooms Should be Declared Disaster Zones!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 06.15.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Children make messes. They move from one activity or outfit to another, rarely considering that by returning whatever they were playing with or wearing to its shelf or drawer, they could easily keep their rooms clean. "Later" becomes their motto.

'My Daughter Lies -- What Should I Do?'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 06.03.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Children live in the moment. They are largely motivated by either avoiding pain or experiencing pleasure. This is why telling kids that too much sugar will give them cavities has little impact on their decision to swipe that handful of brownies; the enjoyment outweighs later costs.

How Should I Handle My Teen Trying Marijuana?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 05.26.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

"My 15-year old son just told me that he tried marijuana a few weeks ago with his buddies. I don't know if I should punish him or if doing so will only make him become dishonest. He said he didn't like it, but I'm not sure I believe him."

'I've Had it With My Sassy Tween!'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 05.12.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

Establish guidelines for what is and isn't acceptable, stay connected and above all, don't take your daughter's behavior personally.

My Child Hits Me! What Can I Do?

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 05.04.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

My daughter has started hitting me when she doesn't get what she wants. She is 6 years old and is strong. She has really hurt me a few times now. I don't know what to do. What can I do?

Our Only Child Never Wants to be Alone!

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.29.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

In the absence of siblings, it is easy for only children to depend on their parents for companionship.

'How Can I Get My Kids to Listen?'

Susan Stiffelman | Posted 04.21.2013 | Parents
Susan Stiffelman

I can't get my children to listen. No matter how many times I repeat something, they tune me out. Is there some secret to getting my kids to do what I ask without nagging?